*I originally wrote this post for liberatingworkingmoms.com on August 21, 2014.
I am now placing it here for safe keeping.*
The following is not a comment or criticism on being a stay at home mom or a working outside the home mom. Whatever you are doing, you are great! Good for you! I'm sure your kids love you. This is my experience.
Once I found out that I was pregnant with my first, I (like many new moms-to-be) began obsessing over baby websites. I was mostly just trying to figure out when she had fingernails or started drinking her own pee (it’s true!), but I stumbled upon discussion groups filled with words I didn’t understand. DH, SAHM, WOHM, EBF, WAHM, AP, CIO … WTF? I was lost. After much diligent googling I had it mostly figured out, stay at home mom: SAHM, work at home mom: WAHM, working outside the home mom: WOHM. Wait, where is my acronym?
Mommy wars exist on all fronts (unfortunately *side-eye lady giving me the side-eye for typing on my phone at the park*) and one division amongst moms that is rifled with criticism and guilt is this: go back to work or stay home with the kids, SAHM or WOHM. I am both and neither and therefore fall into that large gap of other where most of our situations exist. I work three days a week and I’m home the other four. I guess I’m a WPTBRFTBBHWYKIWM (working part-time but really full-time because being home with your kids is work…mom)?
A lot of parents think of part-time work as the ideal situation when your kids are little. I am often heard describing it as “the best of both worlds” and it is, it totally is, except for when it isn’t. I’d say approximately 93% of the time I want to shout from the rooftops, “THIS IS THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!” That other 7% though, that can be kind of rough. I don’t talk about it much because God forbid I sound like I’m whining, but sometimes having your cake and eating it too leaves you feeling kind of sick. Was that the worst metaphor ever? Maybe.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to keep one foot in the workplace, fulfilling my desires for my career, while at the same time getting to be home with my girls for a good chunk of time, but sometimes it seems that I am not giving anyone the attention they deserve. When I’m home with the kids, I feel that nagging guilt that I’m not getting to the things that need to be done at the office, and when I’m at work I feel like I’m missing out on little moments with the two most adorable girls in the world (IMHO… that means in my humble opinion, just so you don’t have to google).
Some days I feel like I can relate to both groups (SAHM and WOHM. Not WAHM, because I do NOT know how you guys do that. Seriously, good work.) and some days I feel like I relate to neither. The real struggle is: which side do I fight for in the Mommy War?! Just kidding, that stuff is messed up. Personally I think a mom is a mom and MAYBE WE SHOULD JUST SUPPORT EACH OTHER, but whatever.
I’m not looking for a pity party because like I said, 93% tap dancing/shouting on roofs, but I think a lot of us working moms fall somewhere in the middle. We are all struggling to find that balance, whichever way the scales are tipped.
So tell me, what is your acronym?